My experience in Vietnam was nothing like I expected, but everything I needed.
At first, I didn’t know where to travel for my elective. I knew I wanted to do one, but had no idea where to go.
I narrowed down the options to Cambodia or Vietnam and eventually chose Vietnam. I chose it because it was somewhere I never imagined I’d otherwise visit.
I had only seen Vietnam in pictures — I imagined the whole country was green mountains and tourist hotspots.
But when I arrived in Hue, the city streets were crowded, with hundreds of mopeds driving in and out of traffic.
I felt overwhelmed to begin with — it was a far cry from what I was used to in the UK.
This made arriving at the Work the World house even more amazing, and it far surpassed my expectations.
All the staff were really friendly and the house was spacious. My housemates and I used the space in the common areas to get to know each other.
When I arrived, I found that the lovely catering team had made lunch. This made me feel completely welcome. The catering team made delicious meals every breakfast and dinner throughout our stay in the house.
Starting my clinical placement in Vietnam was scary. There were other students who had already been in the hospital the week before, and they made me feel more comfortable with their insider-guidance.
Work the World’s house team also went over what was going to happen each day.
Needless to say, midwifery in Vietnam was completely different to the UK in so many ways.
For one, patients were treated differently. The tools and equipment midwives had access to were different and the whole role of the midwife in Vietnam was different.
I got to experience all aspects of midwifery care — antenatal care, labour and delivery through to immediate postpartum care.
The delivery room was by far the place I spent most of my time. At times there were up to 20 mothers-to-be in the same room waiting to deliver.
I had many experiences, all of which I will take with me into my midwifery career.
Evenings and weekends allowed for plenty of time to explore Hue. We saw the Imperial Citadel and Thien Mu Pagoda.
My placement was only two weeks, and I feel as though another week would have been beneficial to allow me to explore more of Vietnam.
I never thought I’d have such an eye-opening experience, but I did. The experience taught me so much about midwifery and the huge differences that can exist between midwifery in different countries.
I highly recommend an overseas elective as a way to experience something completely different!